OKLAHOMA CITY — For the second consecutive game, the Warriors wore their playoff shoes and trampled a Western Conference challenger on its own floor.
Their 110-88 destruction of the Thunder on Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena was more complete than their Wednesday win over the Rockets in Houston on insofar as the Warriors never slowed down.
The victories over the two teams represent Golden State’s first back-to-back wins since before the All-Star break in mid-February.
With defense leading the way, the Warriors (47-21) took the season series 2-1 while sending the Thunder (42-28) to their eighth loss in 12 games.
Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors never trailed:
Defense quickly set a ferocious tone
One game after limiting the potent Rockets to 36.8 percent shooting in taking a 10-point lead after one quarter, the Warriors did even better against the Thunder.
They held OKC to 34.6 percent shooting in the first quarter to take a 13-point lead (40-27) into the second. OKC shot 32.3 percent for the game.
Thunder stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George combined for seven points on 1-of-9 shooting from the field — they were 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. Westbrook and George finished the half with a combined 15 points on 4-of-20 shooting, 1-of-8 from beyond the arc. They never got going.
The Warriors forced 10 first-half turnovers, off which they scored 11 points. OKC committed 16 giveaways for the game.
When the defense is this assertive, the offense will come. When that combination is in effect, it’s borderline impossible to beat the back-to-back reigning NBA champions.
Curry thrashes Westbrook
The key matchup, between point guards Westbrook and Stephen Curry, was a rout. Curry was quite productive, and Westbrook had a night he’d like to forget.
Curry was aggressive from the start, scoring 14 of his game-high 33 points in the first quarter. He shot 10 of 23 from the field, including 5 of 10 from deep, and added seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. He essentially orchestrated the direction of the game.
Westbrook, meanwhile, struggled in most every way, and his first field goal didn’t come until 8:21 remained in the third quarter. He finished 2 of 16 from the field, including 0 of 7 from deep, while also committing four turnovers.
The king of triple-doubles — Westbrook has 27 this season — did not have one this time. In addition to his seven points, he totaled nine rebounds and eight assists.
If OKC has any hope of beating the Warriors in a game or a playoff series, Westbrook’s performance must neutralize that of Curry’s. On this night, it wasn’t close.
Iguodala stifles PG-13
With Kevin Durant out for the second consecutive game, the Warriors again turned to Andre Iguodala at small forward. That meant he’d be assigned to George, who is having a fabulous season.
Iguodala obviously took the job seriously, as he hounded, harassed and generally made life miserable for the veteran. George scored 29 points on 9-of-25 shooting — and many of the field goals came against defenders other than Iguodala.
Iguodala did not have a great offensive game, scoring two points on 1-of-3 shooting, with three assists. On the other end, he had one steal and one block.
George was forced into having one of his worst games of this season because Iguodala was fully aware that his primary job was to defend.